Saturday, 4 November 2017

A Brief History of my Cats and Me

I have just checked, and I have talked about my cats quite a few times on this blog.

I declared I wasn't a mad cat lady here. I talked about cats in the Gallery over at Sticky Fingers blog here. 
And I talked about the Legend of Lister here.

So maybe I am a mad cat lady after all. Anyhoo...

Lister with his Hitler moustache
I have talked about how I always get cats from the RSPCA, how I don't like the owners of posh cats, I have talked about my last three cats quite a lot.

Well now I have a new kitten, and he has made me reflect. I haven't had a new kitten for years and years, since I was 22 in fact.

So, lets start at the beginning. First there was Tigger (we are big Winnie the Pooh fans in our family). Here he is, with me, we are watching TV, obvs.

Please ignore the outfit, it was the 1970's.
My parents got Tigger about 6 months before I arrived. He was a grumpy cat, he once took a massive chunk out of my Grannies leg when she made the mistake of trying to be too friendly.

He was a mouser. As we had chickens we had chicken food and mice like chicken food, so he had a job.

As I recall he was quite good at this, but he did like to release live mice in the house, that was always fun, trying to catch them.

He died when I and he, was 15 or 16, he got run over on the main road next to our house (history repeated itself , with our cats on that road, on a number of occasions).

After that we got Smudge. Here she is, with me when she was still a kitten.
Please ignore the hair this was the eighties and I was going through a punk phase, no wonder they wouldn't let me be a prefect!


I remember she had one set of kittens and then Mum had her 'done', after that I can't really remember what happened or how she died. My best guess is the road got her. So a couple of years after this was taken we were cat less again which was far from ideal.

I was going to college, and I was concerned Mum would miss me, and without a cat as well, she literally would be wondering around not knowing what to do. This shows how little I knew my Mum at this point. Anyway, I conjured up a plan to get my Mum another cat, I knew she liked ginger cats best and thought male cats were better mousers, so I found a ginger kitten at my friends farm.
His name was Marmalade, here he is, on his own (thank goodness,these old pics of me are awful).

BTW, I haven't mentioned my Dad as he was convinced all the cats were out to get him, as they slept on the stairs and had murderous intent. He hated cats. Still does. 

He always looked a bit angry.

Around this time I went to university and for three years I had no cat. I promised myself the first thing I would do when I got a job was to find a place to live where I could have a cat. So I did.

This is Cluedo, he came from the same farm as Marmalade and was probably a relation, he travelled from Shrewsbury to London on the train with me.

Whenever, I went to Shrewsbury to visit, he came with me, he quite liked travelling and took going on the train completely in his big ginger stride.
OK, look it was the early 90's this look was totally acceptable then.
He was a lovely good natured cat, but I decided he needed company. So I went to Battersea Dogs Home, where they had rescued dogs and cats. Here I got Scrabble. (I was really into board games at this time).
Here is Scrabble, quite fat at this point
 When I got her, she was very thin and scared. She remained a scaredy-cat her whole life but decided to eat her problems and got very very fat. She was also my first black cat. She was also a bit stupid.

She would come to Shrewsbury with me, one of the times we were there she decided to leap out of a third floor window. I have no idea why she did this, she wasn't scared or shocked at that particular point. But she survived and had no injuries, maybe it was a suicide attempt, I don't know. But she was one of her nine lives down after that.

After a while, my time in London was over (I split up with my boyfriend and moved home), Cluedo and Scrabble came with me. For a short time I moved back in with my Mum and Dad, Cluedo loved it there, there was a big garden, and fields near by, but it was soon time for me to move out into a flat. I left Cluedo there and took Scrabble with me.
Cluedo helping Mum with the laundry

After that, it was me and Scrabble for a while. Then a friend and another flatmate moved in, they both got kittens. My friend had Rufus the Red (another ginger cat), the other flat mate had Lister.

When I moved out of my flat, to buy my first house, Scrabble, my friend, Rufus the Red and Lister all moved in with me. The other flat mate didn't want Lister any more as her new boyfriend didn't like him.
Rufus the Red


So there I was, single, with 3 cats in my first house even though two of them weren't officially mine.

Miraculously, I did find a boyfriend, even under these circumstances, and decided to move to Birmingham. My friend moved out, I sold my lovely first home and Scrabble, Lister, the boyfriend and I moved, to Oldbury.

Sadly, this was the last place Scrabble would move to with me.

It was here that I ended up taking on two additional cats, a friend of my boyfriends was moving from a house to a flat with no garden, so I ended up with Pushkin and Fred as well.

Our friend Dave with Pushkin

 So I had four cats. But not for long. Fred was already blind when I got him, so he ended up trying to cross the road and getting run over, then Scrabble's behaviour became exceptionally erratic and she wasn't doing well. After seeking advice from both the RSPCA and a vet they agreed she needed to be put to sleep. And finally, Pushkin, became very ill and had to be put to sleep.

All of this happened in the space of 6 months, at a point when when my relationship was breaking down with the current boyfriend. It was awful.

Lister became the one constant. The boyfriend moved out and I was single again for a bit.

Eventually, I ended up with the current Mr MuddyNoSugar and have been with him ever since. We both had houses, we sold both and moved to the other side of Birmingham, with Lister, in October 2000.

Lister was hit by a car and broke his back on the 20th October 2006, my birthday, and 5 weeks after the birth of my second daughter. I took my broken cat and breast feeding baby to the Vet that evening, the Vet gave him pain killers, although he didn't think he was in any pain. Lister passed away overnight.

I was devastated, he had been with me for 13 years, we had been together through boyfriends, a particularly nasty break up, the birth of both my daughters, Pushkin, Scrabble, Fred, Cluedo, Rufus the Red, and through 5 house moves.

It took me until February the next year before we got Tao. He was such a handsome boy.
Tao
He was named by the RSPCA, and we chose him because there were a number of black cats there that day and the people at the RSPCA said that they had trouble homing black cats as people are superstitious...how stupid are people.

We had Tao nearly nine years, he got a cancer on his face, we had it removed but it spread, eventually we lost him at the beginning of this year.

Tao was quite an aloof cat and I missed having a lap cat that could give me lots of love, so around five years in to having Tao we got Millie the Blue Cat. She looks like she's a posh breed, but she's not she's just another moggie.

She was 3 when we got her,  she was another scaredy-cat. I don't know what happened to her, it took a lot of coaxing and love to get her to trust us, but she was always nervy.

Millie
She would only come for love if you were sitting down, she didn't like to be lifted or carried.
But overall she was fine, then in April of this year an un-neutered cat kept coming in through the cat flap and stinking up the place. So we decided to get one of those catflaps which work with the cats chip.
Millie hated it, she refused to come in through it, and would only go out through it if we closed the door.

Suddenly she just didn't want to be in. She felt trapped.

I have tried treats, strapping the cat flap open, everything.
But over the last few months she has become an out door cat. I have had to give into it, because if I try to force her into anything it just upsets her more.

If you go outside, and sit down she will still come for lots of love. So I make sure I do that. Lots.

I have even brought her a cat kennel (I didn't even know they were even a thing until this) and she uses it, it's right by the backdoor where she is fed, and she seems well and content. Which is all you can hope for, and she is never far away.

Tonight I am worried as there are fireworks going off everywhere and I would much rather she was in, but I know she has a number of safe places in the garden she can go, so I just have to hope she is OK.

But now, I have no cat that sits on my lap whilst I watch TV, who I can stroke and be soothed by.  I may have mentioned this quite a bit to friends and family.

So for my birthday one of my best friends, bought me a kitten. Not just any kitten, but a posh kitten, a three quarters, ragdoll and one quarter siamese kitten.

We called him August Woodstock Langan, or Gus for short. Here he is...
August Woodstock Langan
He is August for the month he was born, he is Woodstock because the first Woodstock was on the 15th August and Gus was born on the 15th August. And as he is posh, I thought I'd better give him a posh name.

Gus is wonderful. Loving, playful, daft. He has just found his purr. He is chatty, which is probably the Siamese side of him coming out, he meows as he goes to the toilet - it's nice to be kept informed.

He is everything I wanted, I am quietly hoping that he will get Millie in, that she will see him going in and out of the cat flap and she will follow suit.

They have met and she seems completely un-phased by him. I have everything crossed for the future for these two cats. I can only hope that they both live long lives with me.

Just as a footnote, both Marmalade and Cluedo fell victim to the road. After that Mum had one last ginger cat called Tuppence. He lived until about six months before Mum died, he died of natural causes at home.

If you liked this rather epic tail of cats loved and lost please subscribe and share.

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